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Callaloo 25.2 (2002) 356

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The Wife of Lot Has a Premonition of Her Death

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

If I wanted to speak, I could make Him see
there was no fairness in these Cain and Abel games.
First you love one, then the other.
Now a man will be saved, now a woman will die.
Both sides lose when you gamble like that.
Two causes for tears called a name together.
Soon one morning
Death come creeping in my room
Didn't I learn by myself to pray?
Didn't I sing only one name?
Didn't I give the first offerings of my tongue?
Didn't I open my soul to my old man's seed?
Day each one of those girls was born,
didn't I slip my fingers under her crown,
cup the new head resting against my palm?
Can't any of that buy me one thing?
Soon one morning
Death come creeping in my room
Maybe I'm not just a plain-formed woman.
Maybe I'm Eve becoming sin.
Maybe I've learned what is harder than a curse.
I can make my own earth
and oceans and little beasts.
Maybe this man's God is afraid of me.
Soon one morning
Death come creeping in my room
O my Lord        O my Lord
What shall I do


Honorée Fanonne Jeffers is author of The Gospel of Barbecue, which Lucille Clifton selected for the 1999 Stan and Tom Wick Prize for Poetry. Her second book of poems, Outlandish Blues, is forthcoming from Wesleyan University Press in 2003. She has won awards from the Rona Jaffe Foundation and the Barbara Deming Memorial.



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